Braves teammates bemoan Acuña’s lack of hustle in NLDS loss

Cardinals 7 Braves 6

ATLANTA — In a one-run playoff loss, Ronald Acuña Jr.’s lack of hustle was the obvious mistake the Atlanta Braves couldn’t afford.

Acuña failed to run out a long flyball to right field in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 7-6 loss to St. Louis in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday night. He admired his drive as he carried his bat with him on his slow jog down the first-base line.

The bad news for Acuña and the Braves: It was not a homer. The ball hit off the wall, and he had to settle for a single instead of a double.

After showing lack of hustle in an almost identical play on Aug. 18, Acuña was pulled out of a 5-3 win over the Dodgers by manager Brian Snitker. Acuña was contrite after that first mistake, and Snitker seemed convinced the 21-year-old All-Star learned his lesson.

No one was as quick to forgive Acuña after the gaffe was repeated in the spotlight of the post-season opener.

“It is frustrating,” star teammate Freddie Freeman said. “… You’ve got to know you can’t have that mistake. That can’t happen in the playoffs. That can’t happen in the regular season. Unfortunately, that happened.”

Acuña’s close friend, second baseman Ozzie Albies, said the lollygagging could have cost Atlanta a win. Albies said “a couple guys” spoke up in the clubhouse after the game to tell Acuña “just run out of the box.”

“He had a chance to kill the inning,” Albies said. “We probably score in that inning if he’s at second base. It was a big chance in a tight ballgame.”

Speaking through a translator, Acuña insisted, “I always try to give my best effort. Those things just kind of get away from me. So obviously I would love to have a double.”

Acuña described his mistakes as “things only happen to guys who are on the bench. You get benched for that.”

This time, however, Snitker was running out of players and couldn’t afford to remove Acuña from the game as a disciplinary measure.

“He should have been on second,” Snitker said. “And we’re kind of short-handed to do anything about it right there. You hate to see that happen.”

Acuña hit a two-run homer in the ninth and also admired the blast before flipping his bat. Freeman also homered as the Braves tried to rally from a 7-3 deficit.

The fact the Braves needed one more run to complete the comeback added more attention to Acuña’s mistake in the seventh.

Freeman said players shouldn’t have to be told more than once to run out of the box.

“I think you have that conversation once,” Freeman said. “You’re going to beat a dead horse after you keep having that same conversation over and over again.”

Snitker said he had not yet had the opportunity to speak with his young star. Albies said it’s crucial that Acuña understands the message.

“It’s a big deal,” Albies said. “He needs to do better there.”

Just Posted

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre outgrows its temporary space

Working with clients in Red Deer and across central Alberta

Horse abusers shouldn’t profit off the sales of sick or starving equines, say women

Too many poor-condition horses are being auctioned off in central Alberta, they maintain

Blaine Calkins easily takes Red Deer-Lacombe for Conservatives

Blaine Calkins won 80 per cent of the vote

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake brewery hosting creepy cabaret

Boo’s and Brews is hosted by Undercurrent Brewery on Oct. 25

Lacombe, Red Deer judged among Canada’s 20 best places to live

Lacombe has placed fifth in Moneyinc.com’s 20 best places to live in… Continue reading

Ponoka putting former visitor information centre up for sale

Ponoka has declared the building that previously housed the town’s visitor information… Continue reading

Election results reflect a divided nation

Under the guise of a minority victory for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Canadians… Continue reading

Canadian rookie Mfiondu Kabengele learning quickly from Clippers superstars

VANCOUVER — Canadian rookie Mfiondu Kabengele knows he has a lot to… Continue reading

Canada beefs up in women’s curling to counter international surge

CALGARY — Canada is deeper in women’s curling talent and so is… Continue reading

The most dangerous celebrity online is revealed

NEW YORK — Actress Alexis Bledel has been bookish and sweet on… Continue reading

Most Read